Leapbeer #366 – All Good Things …
So here I am, a complete year of beer drinking in and I’m getting ready to put the wraps on this whole endeavor. I thought it would be fitting for me to end with a beer synonymous with Vancouver Island. Not far from where I grew up in a town called Cumberland, they hold a rather dubious distinction. They consume the most Lucky Lager per capita than anywhere else. It is also a staple up in my current home town of Campbell River. Because it is so synonymous with my area and the beer culture here, I felt it would be the right beer to close things on.
Lucky is a purely golden coloured beer with very little head to speak of, in fact it dissipated within minutes of pouring. The aroma is kind of strange, its a mix between sour cream and stale bread. It tastes overly sweet for a lager, with a really unpleasant ‘sour milk’ bitter aftertaste. I’m drinking it at maybe 7c so maybe I need to freeze it to make it a bit more palatable. Can says the beer was established in 1934. I’m not sure if thats when this can was made, but it kind of tastes like it.
Leapbeer #366 is Lucky Lager
Brewery: Labatt brewed in a sewer somewhere
Size/ABV: 355ml Can/5.0% ABV
Purchased: Gift from @jonbrophy
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer
Who am I kidding? I can’t end this wonderful journey drinking this swill. I’m going to put this the only place suitable for this putrescence.
Now on to a beer worthy of being on the top of this list.
This winter beer geeks the were aglow with the news that Westvleteren 12 would be available, albeit for a limited time. Some of us (myself included) were absolutely giddy about it. For those who needed education (and I did as well) Westvleteren 12 is a belgian quad that is extremely rare and regarded as one of the best beers in the world. It is a belgian quad, as beeradvocate explains ‘a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale of great strength with bolder flavor compared to its Dubbel and Tripel sister styles. Typically a dark creation that ranges within the deep red, brown and garnet hues. Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Phenols are usually at a moderate level. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol. Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 9.0-13.0%’
The monks at the abbey where it is brewed are planning an expansion to their facilities. They have produced the Westvleteren XII gift packs to fund this project. In doing so they provided fantastic news for beer geeks. The good folks at Cascadia Liquor in Courtenay had one set aside for me, and I want to thank them for that. I heard later that they sold out their entire stock of these gift packs the day that they came in. I found this surprising because of the hefty price tag this pack had (79.99). But the beer geeks have spoken with their wallets. They want the westy, and they want it now.
Before I get into the beer itself, a couple of notes about this stuff. First off this is how you say it (I had to ask). Properly it is pronounced “WEST – VLET -eren”. I verified that with Belgian traveler and Portland beer blogger ithinkaboutbeer. Second note about this beer is that it is a great cellar addition. It will only get better, smoother and more delicious. I’m stashing most of mine and putting a year sticker on the bottom of mine. That way when I consume them later, or if I trade them, all will know when they were bottled. The other cool thing about this gift pack is the bottles are 12 ounces and the glasses are 6, making the set up perfect for sharing in their perfect little mini chalices.
On to the beer. I want to know if this beer really earns its 100/100 rating from both Beer Advocate and Rate Beer. The beer itself is deep dark brown with some yeast floaties. Theres a tan head on it about 1cm tall. The aroma has a real gravitas to it, with aromas of malt, dates, raisins or dark fruit, sweet, a little spice from the yeast. This is a big and beefy quad with a high test ABV of 10.2 %. What shocked me is how remarkably smooth this beer really is. I found it easy to drink. The flavours are great, tastes of raisin yeast, apple peel and a touch of golden syrup. Then you get a very latent subdued booze burn. It is nicely carbonated, and there’s also a complex malt flavour. Is it worth the price of admission? I think so. Its very delicious. And it will only get better with time. As far as I’ve seen this is the holy grail of beer (outside of dark lord maybe).
The TRUE Leapbeer #366 is Westvleteren 12
Brewery: Brouwerij Westvleteren of Vleteren, Belgium
Size/ABV: 12 ounce Bottle/10.2% ABV
Purchased: Cascadia Courtenay
Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westvleteren_Brewery (There’s no real website for Westvleteren)
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Mikes Craft Beer Blog
One of my favorite songs is Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead, and a line from that really sums up my experiences over this year. “What a long strange trip its been”. I’ll be posting back here again as January rolls on. I’m planning to take at least a week off of writing as I detox a bit for my Sober January. And no that isn’t a new years resolution, just something me and my sister decided to do earlier in the year. I will have a break down of all the beers and where they were from. I’m hoping to have it both by style and location etc.
Most of my writing is now going to be for the BC Beer Blog. Rick Green graciously offered me a place to post my ramblings. I will also still post to this site. But also follow me on twitter ( @heavycf ) or on untappd for more of my beer adventures.